Older blog entries for squiggy (starting at number 15)

5 Sep 2000 (updated 5 Sep 2000 at 19:40 UTC) »

Well, this is a wholly innappropriate place for me to post this, but I'm doing it anyway. Sorry if it bugs you. This isn't really about open source stuff, or about programming, or even really about computing, except in a tangential sort of way. It's about me, or maybe it's about people in general, but it's hard for me to tell, since my perspective is pretty limited. So we'll call it 'me'.

It's also long, rambling, and borderline incoherent....

I'm depressed. I worked hard to get where I am in my career. I put up with a lot of shit, and I sweat and bled, and sacrificed a lot (JuJitsu, music, most of a relationship, anything to do with my personal happiness, basically anything that wasn't 'pute stuff) to get here. Now I'm more or less here... the job I wanted. And all I can seem to do is look around myself and say "Man... that was dumb."

I raise my arms above my head and scream. I shake my tiny fist at god. I rage at the horrible injustice of working hard just to find out that all my goals really just kinda sucked. Like driving 18 hours straight through to go to the grand canyon, just to discover that it's only a big hole in the ground. *sigh*

I didn't realize that the point was to enjoy the trip out there, and to enjoy it for what it is in wide eyed innocence when you get there. And most of the things in my life have been like that. I do things so that I can say that I've done them. It's really high time I learned to actually enjoy doing things for the pleasure the act of doing them brings me I think.

So now I'm here, and I realize that what I wanted wasn't necessarily this job, but the knowledge that I could do it, and that it wasn't outside my grasp. And I wanted people to see me doing this big important job. And once I started to succeed a little bit at it, the job became less important and other things started to matter again. Being happy with myself, having strong friendships, having diverse interests. are all much bigger desires for me now.

But I ignored all that scenery along the way... all of those things that I did before are _gone_. My band all left town. All my JuJitsu partners are long gone. The relationship was a disaster anyway. I'm too fat to race bikes anymore. I'm completely out of shape. I've never been good at meeting people, and all my friends (old and new alike) either have left or are leaving. All the scenery is disapearing in the rear view mirror. *sigh* And here I sit, staring at a hot dusty hole in the rock, like a cynical old bastard.

I realize that two things that've kept me in my current job(s) for the last couple of years are : 1) a fierce love for and loyalty to some very special people that I've had the pleasure of working for / with, and 2) fear of making a big change... something anyone who knows me can tell you has been a big problem of mine for a long time.

Now most of those coworkers are gone or leaving as well, which leaves me wondering why the hell I'm still doing what I'm doing. And the answer is, fear and apathy; Fear of changing my life, and apathy towards actually doing anything to make myself happier.

So I've been thinking about this a bit, and I've come to some startling (to me) realizations about myself. For instance, I told Chris recently that I am deathly affraid of being alone. But it's not true... sorry Chris, I guess I lied. Or at least that's just an overly simple way of looking at it. I'm really more afraid of being left alone, and left behind to be forgotten. I used to joke about not wanting to be the last one left to turn out the lights when all my friends left for California, but I don't think I was joking. Now that I recognize this problem, I guess I need to figure out what how to address it.

I thought I'd moved to this apartment out in the sticks because I wanted to experiment with living way out by myself for a while. But I think it's more than that. I think I'm using it as a staging area, gathering myself together to make my big jump, wherever that may be to. I think I came out here to try to make some sense of things and to impose some order on my life (sort out the important crap from the not so important crap), before I do whatever it is that comes next.

That sounds pretty drastic I guess. I'm not talking about killing myself or giving away all my stuff and becoming a monk, or anything. At least... I don't think that's what I'm talking about. I think I'm talking about a change of venue, like moving to another state. Or maybe a new career, doing almost anything else... maybe opening a restaurant.... like a cafe in New Mexico, catering to UFO freaks or something. Hell, I may just buy a house in town, and tackle my current job with renewed vigor. I don't know. But I think I'm out here to find out.

I think the important thing is, I think I'm out here to remember to look out the window from time to time. And looking out the window right now, I see beautiful blue skies, and leaves on the trees just barely hinting at starting to turn. I see what looks remarkably like me taking the afternoon off.

I think that over the next few months, I'm going to take some time just for me. I want to travel, and see some things. It's just sort of snapping into focus now that I have some completely silly amount of time off coming to me, and despite all my desperate claims to the contrary, I'm not _really_ cash desperate.

I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about making a coast to coast motorcycle trip, and it sounded a little bit like heaven. I guess I'll have to figure out what the "me" equivilant will be, and do it.

Argh. What a lousy week. I put in an average of 12 or so hours a day at the office last week, and 6 more hours over the weekend. Yucky. And that didn't include moving. I was not a happy boy.

I suspect this week will be better... I'm already off to a better start, since I've only been paged once today.

DHCP was not intended to be used on the scale we're trying to achieve. It really starts to break down when you span across dozens of subnets. Some very painful debugging with some help from the router guys becomes a part of your daily life. Mystical things happen to packets between client and server. Sometimes whole subnets magically dissapear for a while. *sigh* I'm tired of being in the middle.

Undocumented compile options are the best compile options.

Same goes for library dependencies.

Came into my office this morning, actually saw my own corpse, and surveyed the results of last night's marathon compile fest.... 5 empty coke cans, 2 KitKat wrappers, and a big forehead print on my monitor. Oh yeah.... and nothing to show for it.

Afternoon Update : Sat back down in front of this project. Tried to think about what's wrong. Instead, I came up with a list of alternative careers :

  • Rodeo Clown
  • Serial killer
  • Smoke Jumper
  • Beer taster
  • sword swallower
  • lion tamer
  • crazed lunatic
  • bomb defuser
  • Hell's Angel
  • Cleaner (see 'the Professional')

  • Aieeeeeeeggghhhh!!!!! Yesterday sucked. Today has sucked. My traditional strategy of puttin off unpleasant and possibly stupid things until someone else decides that it wasn't a good idea in the first place has backfired. Spent some heavy time in CGI hell the last few days, including a marathon session until 2am this morning. AND I was at my desk by 8:20 this morning (a somewhat rare occurance).

    It's been a while since I hit the convienience store, grabbed a couple bottles of caffienated water, and just sat down and coded. Felt good. I even came up with some remarkably clever ways of grabbing bits of data.... Too bad I should have done that in July.

    Jeremy, I think I'm gonna take that DHCP stuff you gave me, and make an honest to God module out of it. Looks like it's gonna be powerful useful for me.

    Ok, I mentioned that I was sunburned. In truth, it's the worst sunburn I've had in a mighty long time. My chest and stomach are bright red, and quite painful to the touch. I'm dealing with 'extreme nipple sensitivity' because of it. It made this morning's shower experience an exciting one.

    I actually started work on my new personal programming project yesterday. Didn't get very far, 'cause I still don't have a phone line in the new place. It's a mass mail client, in the same vein as majordomo and listserv.

    I know, I know.... the world needs another one of those like it needs an entire army of Carrot Top. But that's ok. I want to do this. Having spent so much time, elbow deep in majordomo code, I've developed something of a bad attitude towards it. (had the chance to body slam both Brent Chapman and Tom Christiansen in one giant, off the top rope, blaze of glory at Usenix, and I didn't do it. I've been kicking myself ever since). Besides, none of those other things were written by me. I guess I'm not necessarily doing this so people will use it, I'm doing this because I think it'll be fun, and I'll use it.

    Anyway, I'm working on my own mass mailer now. It's going to be simple, elegant, and as lightweight as I can make it. The big problem with those others is, they try to do too much through a mail interface... it results in messages to the list not getting through sometime, and control messagings going to the list sometimes. And it just generally makes the code difficult to work with.

    I'd make a project page for it, but it doesn't have a name yet. I started out calling it 'X', but that's... you know... got problems with it. I'd be open to suggestions if you have any.

    Post Lunch Update
    Had a good lunch with Ed, Jeremy, and Josh. We saw the most beautiful hostess in the world. I'm in love. She was truly spectacular.

    Got a note from Adrian, regarding My earlier diary post. He suggested I take a look at 'mailman' before I make too many bold strides down the coding path. I'm lookin' at it now. We'll see....

    Yarg. Josh called me an hour or so ago. We were having trouble with DHCP in the residence halls. Not a big deal, really.... It was only really a problem because I didn't get paged by Operations. They say they tried, but the pager never uttered a peep. This is not good.

    I'm off to buy some stuff I need for the apt. now. You know, ice trays, trash bags, that sort of whatnot.

    Good weekend so far, except for getting called in to work. Got sunburned yesterday, reading on the porch. Watched some MST3K with Ed and my Bro friday night. Had some beers and dinner with some of the boys last night.

    One odd thing of note. I was pressed into service to run off some guy. He was hittin' on this girl I know in the bar where we were havin' a few. She walked past, saw me, and started talking to this dude about how she was gonna have me kick his ass. She had me stand up and walk over, just so she could show off how much bigger than him I am (about 8 inches taller, and a whole lot of pounds heavier). He promptly dissapeared, as did she about a minute later.

    It was kind of cool to be threatening again... I havn't really scared anybody in years. Might be time to get back into fighting trim again.

    Busted some serious code today on the Sasha project. And just like I figured, as soon as I actually worked on it, someone said "You shouldn't be doing this". *sigh* How typical. The good news is though, I've done as much to it as I can without talking to the people who asked me to do this, who aren't here today.

    Sent Ed a copy of my 'mail prettifier' code. He's the first non-me person to actually slap eyes on it. Havn't heard back from him yet.

    All it does is rip out extraneous headers and sigs, clean up quote characters, and fix line wrapping in long email threads. It ain't real pretty yet, and I expect I'm the only person in the world who's anal enough to want this (I get tired of seeing '> >>: > |>>' at the beginning of a line, and having the line wrap in the middle), but anyone that want's to see it is welcome to it. Just drop me a line.

    I had this going via procmail... any message that hit my inbox went through this filter first. But it became clear pretty quickly that this wasn't going to work (didn't deal with mime stuff very gracefully for example). So instead I wrote a little emacs macro which takes the contents of current buffer, pipes it through the perl script, and replaces it with the output from the script. I run it when I respond. Works pretty well, and allowed me to trim a lot of crap out of the code.

    I officially declared my news server problems 'Fixed' today. yea. I'm officially going to go home and have nightmares about DHCP tonight. Just got a call from Ed... looks like we're headed out for steak tonight. Better call the Bro...

    Afternoon Update :
    I hate listserv. I just thought you should know that. I suppose it's probably not strictly listserv's fault, but rather our backasswards implimentation of it. I'm trying to fix 900 lists on the server for another campus that got scrod when we had a hardware failure. The change I need to make would take several seconds of my life to make if I had direct access to the list data... but I don't. My only access is through the listserv management web interface which pretty much blows gophers. I'd rather not fix all 900 of these by hand, so I'm trying to script it. But somewhere between my brain and the stupid NT box on the other end, things are going seriously wrong. I'm so pleased.

    Nice lunch w/ the gang today. Sushi. Ed is still pushin' to go see 'Coyote Ugly'. The rest of us remain sceptical. I say we should go see 'Rocky & Bullwinkle' before it leaves the $2 theatre.... Jeremy says "...there ain't enough drugs in all the world...".

    Hey jschauma, what I meant was, yer web page is a dazzling spectacle. Kinda cool... lots of bells and whistles. Sleek and ultra-modern, like living in the not-too-distant future. But perhaps a bit much for my taste. And that's probably fine. :) It seems to barf once you leave the first page though. But perhaps it's high time I did a netscape upgrade.

    Been having some nice conversation with Joad about happiness, physical location in the universe, and the population density of Alaska. My favorite line so far... "Up in Nome they say 'there's a woman behind every tree'. Up in Nome it's all tundra."

    It seems I probably owe Chris a bit of a 'sorry dude' . So here goes... sorry dude.

    When you have two important projects coming due, and you have a lot of work to do on both of them, how do you decide which one gets all the brain cycles, and how do you make it go? I'm finding myself thinking about project A while working on project B, to the point of distraction. So I go work on project B instead, and I start thinking about project A. *sigh*

    [Seafood should be cooked]

    Woke up to some killer thunder & lightning this morning. Had a nice refreshing shower, and a bite of breakfast. Did some morning stretching. Stopped to get gas on the way into the office, and got it for less than $1.25 for the first time in ages. What a nice morning. I like having more complete control over the way I live my life.

    Spent a few minutes getting Mon configured to check up on our new internal mail server. I suppose the next logical step would be to actually build the internal mail server. This is going to end in a bloodbath between Haiyan and myself.... she comes from a research computing background. We're gonna butt heads over this 'bleeding edge' vs. 'solid and stable' thing. Oh well, should be fun.

    I think I found my new watch. Anybody know anything about these things? Like wether or not they're crap, or where I could go to try one on, or especially where I could find one cheaper?

    Had a going away luncheon for Scooter. He's fallen prey to the great techy gold rush of the late '90s. He's been workin' out in the bay area for a while, but now they are well and truly leaving town for good. *sigh* I 'll miss 'em.

    But that and the impending departure of Chris has lead me once again to think about the conversations I've been having with him lately... The same conversation I've been having with myself for a few years now. Basially, is it time for me to leave? Have I grown as much as I can here, and staying longer only stiffles me as a person? Perhaps staying in the midwest is one of the reasons I'm so brutally unhappy all the time.

    But then again... why would I be leaving? Running to the remote possiblilty of something or someone or somewhere better? Running away from myself? Running away from what I see myself becoming or maybe failing to become? Would I be running away from my family problems?

    You know... I think probably that the real benefit of therapy is not in helping yourself get through the really bad times. Rather I suspect it's in helping you cope with the questions that arise when you start to get better. *shrug*


    I've been here like 2 hours, and I've already accomplished more today than I did all day yesterday. This in spite of the fact that we had a fire alarm go off the second my butt hit the chair. I almost went straight home after that. Kinda glad I didn't though. If I had phone service in my new apartment, I probably would have worked from home today, but then I would have missed out on all the politics I've dabbled in today : service ownership, what it means to rewrite things, and the difference between "My boss said..." and "This is what's actually going to happen". *sigh*

    The boss man usually does such a good job of filtering out the politics. I hate it when he's out sick.

    I've already dealt with three "DHCP problems" today. One of which looks like it's actually a minor WINS issue, one is our ongoing battle over the lease DB file *yawn*, and the other appears to be a network problem... my guess is it's a cable.

    In addition to carrying the group pager, I did some '-admin' work for news (why the hell did they feel the need to create the 'codewarrior.*' heirarchy? this should be under comp.*), dhcp, and majordomo this morning. Looks like I'm gonna do listserv for Peg next week. This work stuff is starting to be a lot like work. And all this before I've had my morning's caffeine.

    Had a nice lunch with my Bro. We gossiped about dad for a while. I like havin' Wes 'round... I'm gonna miss him when he heads back to school. It's quite amazing that he manages to be at least as cynical as I.

    Man alive!! People that don't even know me are actually reading this!!! How odd. jschauma, man, yer web page is out of control!

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